Conservative Fairbanks Borough Assemblywoman Barbara Haney is claiming that liberal members of the school board and assembly are using a largely unknown ad hoc education committee to hatch critical and far-reaching legislation outside of the public eye.

On Feb. 1, the assembly voted 8-1 to advance an ordinance, which, if approved by voters, would allow for a $10 million-dollar increase in additional borough taxes for the benefit of government-run schools. Assemblywoman Barbara Haney was the lone dissenting vote.

Below is a letter she sent to supporters on Feb. 13, claiming that the tax hike was part of the behind the scenes planning of the ad hoc committee. She is now urging Fairbanks residents to turn out for a Feb. 15 special meeting of the assembly to demand transparency from elected officials.


On April 27, 1961, President John Kennedy gave a speech on open meetings. In that speech he stated, “The very word ‘secrecy’ is repugnant in a free and open society. And we are as a people inherently and historically opposed to secret societies, to secret oaths, and to secret proceedings. We decided long ago that the dangers of excessive and unwarranted concealment of pertinent facts far outweighed the dangers which are cited to justify it.”

These words reflect the values Americans place on open proceedings of government entities.

Our [Fairbanks] borough government has historically adhered to the practice of meetings being open to the public.  Every board, commission, and committee records are online, and the records are meticulously maintained by the borough clerk and her staff. Historically, things have been done in the open. But it seems sometime between December 2023 and January 2024 there was the creation of an “Ad Hoc” Committee on Education.

There does not appear to be any resolutions before the school board or the assembly to create such a committee. I have seen no recordings or other written minutes of this Ad Hoc Committee. I was quite surprised to find out at the January 29, 2024, joint meeting of the school board and assembly that this Ad Hoc committee was formed. I see no listing of this committee anywhere on the borough website at I see no meeting minutes of this committee’s work. Work products were produced at these meetings with no input by the community or minority members of the borough or school board.

While the borough clerk assures me there was no violation of the open meetings act, some of the side bar conversations among assembly members have provided the impression that there was some kind of serial communication among members who were not on the committee and perhaps beyond the knowledge of the borough clerk.

This sort of secrecy is really beneath the dignity of both bodies. The liberals have clear majorities on both boards [assembly and school]. There really was no reason for this secrecy- except to silence the opinions and thoughts of those with whom they disagree and to silence minority views.

They have the votes to do whatever they want. They just don’t want to hear from the minority and the public. This is unfortunate, because while I may not always agree with any given person’s overall worldview, sometimes they have good ideas that can be supported by everyone. That is why minority voices are important.

The whole notion of a Republic with open meetings is to protect the minority and to provide information to the public and gain their input on matters before the legislative body.

The taxpayers must pay for the decisions made in these meetings, and they have the right to hear the discussion and know what was said, and the basis for certain decisions.

What was the reason for all the secrecy? Was there some party where they lapsed into discussing borough business and decided to back track with the formation of an “ad hoc” committee? Did they discuss information that is not publicly available?

They have the votes to do whatever they wish, so why avoid public scrutiny? Two things came from this committee: a resolution to lobby the legislature to raise the education funding so high you will never see a permanent fund dividend check again, and [ordinance] 2024-07, a plan to hold a special election on April 30th to increase property taxes this year by $100 per $100,000 of assessed value. These are issues with serious consequences for the household budgets of borough residents and should not be undertaken lightly.

This is a call to action.  Please take a minute to email both your borough assembly and school board (  Call (907) 459-1401 to get on the schedule to testify [at the Feb. 15 meeting]. Tell them you want a transparent government and tell them we don’t need a special election to raise property taxes or any election to raise the tax cap. Please, show up on February 15th at 5:30 p.m. and give the borough assembly your thoughts on this process and on their efforts to raise your property taxes this year by $200 or more.


— Click here to contact Fairbanks Borough Assembly members.

— Click here to read the proposed ordinance.

— Click here for information on how to participate in the upcoming Feb. 15 special borough assembly meeting, which begins at 5:30 p.m. To testify by phone, call (907) 459-1405. Public comments will be limited to three minutes per person.

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Fairbanks Assemblywoman says colleagues and school board are skirting Open Meetings Act to raise taxes

Joel Davidson
Joel is Editor-in-Chief of the Alaska Watchman. Joel is an award winning journalist and has been reporting for over 24 years, He is a proud father of 8 children, and lives in Palmer, Alaska.


  • SA says:

    Barbara Haney suffers from a profound sense of paranoia that seems to have worsened since her election to the FNSB Assembly. Even before the votes were counted during the election–which she won–she was posting her suspicions about “voter fraud” and making false claims about the Borough Clerk “fixing” the ballots so that Haney’s opponent would win. The ad hoc committee that Haney is so worried about did not meet in secret , nor did it make binding decisions that affect taxpayers as she falsely claims. The ad hoc group is not a governmental entity, and therefore is not bound by Alaska’s Open Meeting Act. Haney is simply being paranoid–AGAIN–and crying wolf–AGAIN.

    • Malcom Harringer says:

      If Barbara Haney is the best Fairbanks can do, they might as well move to Wasilla. I am listening to her now at the meeting and she has to be drunk. Slurring. Claiming that there is a “secret budget” and “secret meetings”, but the clerk keeps pointing out that they all heard the budget in a meeting last week, and the presentation was published online too. Barbara isn’t a strong voice for common sense.

  • Friend of Humanity says:

    Thank you to this assemblywoman for putting out the truth to the people of Fairbanks. They need the truth…..We all need the truth.

  • AK Fish says:

    If it walks likes a duck, looks like a duck, quacks like a duck, it’s a duck. The State of Alaska’s Open Meetings Act (AS 44.62. 310-. 312) requires that all meetings of a public entity’s governing body be open to the public and that the body provide reasonable notice of its meetings. The OMA, generally applicable to the state government, is specifically made applicable to all municipalities by AS 29.20.020 and AS 44.62.310. School districts are also subject to the OMA according to AS 44.62.310(h)(3).

    It is important to note that a body does not have to have any decision-making power to be subject to the OMA. A body is subject to the OMA even if its only power is to give advice or make recommendations on matters of public concern. there is no exception for a gathering of a small number of members of an advisory-only body. A gathering of two or more members of an advisory-only body will be a meeting under the OMA when it is prearranged for the purpose of considering the business of the body. SEE's%20Open%20Meetings%20Law.pdf

  • DaveMaxwell says:

    Sa : take a flight somewhere and please choose the seat next to the door. You will find yourself suffering from a profound sense of paranoia! I wonder why?
    Enjoy your flight!

  • DaveMaxwell says:

    God bless the whistle blowers!

  • Old Miner says:

    Barbara always motivates the worst people to come testify. Educators and parents came out in favor, a bunch of unemployed losers came out against. This isn’t helping our situation in Fairbanks. We need someone with better friends, not every degenerate in a 90 mile radius. Men claiming they can’t feed their kids because of taxes in FNSB is just embarrassing. Get a job.

  • Rich Eide says:

    OM: I am one of those “degenerates” who testified 14 days ago regarding the borough members daring to remove the Tax Cap we petitioned and voted in place to protect us from tax-and-spend liberals. I’m worked in our public local public schools for 30 years in various capacities and know something about waste and failure to hold parents and students accountable. Handing the school district 10 million without requiring real change is absurd. And transferring stressed budgets to borough residents who are already stressed with property taxes is a ‘cheap shot’ by our assembly. Let’s see if this is a tipping point for conservative voters to wake up!
    Random thoughts from a “degenerate”.

    • Bill Henley says:

      I spoke last night, and was surprised by both the smell and the low IQ of most people there. A testament to the need for better schools in this town. No one had a coherent thought, or knew what was going on, Barbara sounded drunk and admitted she hadn’t seen the budget she was crying about. nonsense.

  • Jasmine Burns says:

    Barbara needs to resign. She’s ineffective.